Rule Breaker - Strategies
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By TMFDavidG
October 12, 2001

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[Note: This is David Gardner's response to a previous Post of the Day.]


Thanks for your analysis. I disagree that Millenium does not operate within an important, emerging industry, and I disagree that it does not have 10x/5y possibilities from this present price. Further, we have already discussed numerous times in the past that biotechnology is not going to meet our consumer-slanted bias, but that this is less material in the case of emerging technology. You either are not aware of this or chose to ignore it.

Thus, to state categorically that it meets "exactly two" of our criteria (as if this is peremptory or self-evident) is extremely dubious, at least to me.

But "it's all how you look at it," isn't it? I think it is -- which is exactly why, beginning with our RB book, I made it clear that there is a lot of subjectivity and "art" to finding a RB, and what is one person's Rule Breaker may be another person's Rule Faker. You seem again either unaware of this, or willing to ignore it. Some people will always insist upon an objective-seeming certitude, which means the form of investing practiced in this little corner of cyberspace probably isn't for them.

I do pause, though, with regard to your statement that the purchase "detracts heavily from [our] purported educational mission." This seems unfair, and suggests a significant loss of perspective for anyone who might nod his head in agreement. We provide here, for free, to the public:

* our own research on a stock
* a pledge to buy that stock before doing so
* an invitation to the public to comment upon the move
* ongoing coverage of what happens and what we all learn together
* self-imposed numerical accountability

... which is all part of the Fool's ongoing interactive special sauce -- special, because I don't know of any site that has a real-money portfolio that pre-announces its moves and invites many smart people (like you) to comment upon it -- that explains and teaches its successes and its failures -- that attempts constantly to scrutinize and where possible improve upon its own strategies and policies, etc.

The Motley Fool at large and the Rule Breaker criteria in particular may not hold much value for you, perhaps, in our "purported" educational mission (suggesting we aren't sincere?), but I'll just say that while we're not perfect, we particularly invite anyone who is perfect to improve upon our investment strategies and ideas. And failing that perfect person, we still invite many imperfect people (we particularly value those who are secure enough to acknowledge this) to contribute as well. I may hope for more understanding, but I will not expect everyone to appreciate what we offer here. There are no doubt better sites for some people, and I'm often surprised by how many people hang around here, given what some of them write. (It's a study unto itself, perhaps. "Ain't the food bad here?" says one person. "YES," say the others, "it's been getting worse for years.) :)

Foolish best wishes, and I enjoyed some of your subjective analysis, and have enjoyed your work in past,

David Gardner


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